Just got back from a lecture at the Society of Illustrators about how illustrator can go into the app making business (and also draw on the iPad). As a public service, so you dear reader can reap from the $15 I spent attending it, I’m sharing some of the notes I took.

Laura Tallardy was the speaker for the “app-making fun” section of the lecture. She’s made 4 apps, three of which she built all by herself, and one in which she partnered with a programmer. Her apps have been downloaded 100,000 times. Her apps are for children, three are paper doll-type apps where children can dress and customize a character, and one is a simple puzzle app.

App-making consists of four simple steps: have an idea for an app > create the artwork, coding, and sound for the app > test the app > submit it to various app outlets like the Apple store. Apple will sometimes reject an app if the content is questionable, or more often, if there are bugs in the coding. If it’s rejected, you can just fix the bug and resubmit it.

The lecture didn’t delve too deep into the technical aspect of making apps (like programming and funtionality), the core points were that you needed to draw wireframes, that is to say draw sketches of what the app looks like at different points. If you don’t know objective-c or java, there are some softwares you can use to help you build the app like Corona SDK with the Kwik photoshop plugin. The advantage to using Corona is that it will automatically output the app for all devices curently on the market like Android, the nook, kindle, and of course the iPhone and iPad.

To submit an app to Apple of Google, you need to register with them as a programmer first and pay a fee ($99/year for Apple, $25 for Google). If I remember correctly from the app-making class I took 2 years ago (in which I failed to get a grasp of Objective-C), you can only test your app on your device after you’ve registered with Apple. After you’ve tested the app on your device to make sure it runs as intended, you can submit it to Apple or Google. Usually it takes 1-2 weeks to get a response on the submission.

In order to market your app, you need: a website, demo videos, press kit / press release for app review sites, and look into appropriate keywords for your app so people can search for it. An important point that was made is that the app market changes quickly, so it’s best to spend less than 6 months developing the app. Also, there are a couple of different way an app makes money: by selling the app (Apple takes $.30 from every $.99 cent app), by making the app free but selling items/expansions on the app, by putting advertising in the app, or selling the app to a company. So that about covers what I have in my notes. We were given a handout with some links for further reading, but I haven’t looked into the links yet, so more on that later.

The rest of the lecture was with Momonika Maniecki who talked about creating artwork on the iPad. The two main programs she uses are Art Rage and Paper (by 53). As far as stylus go, she uses the ones from PenGo Creative. Not much to report on that lecture, she did a demonstration of the software, said it took about a year for her to get confortable working on the iPad. Since I don’t have an iPad, it’s not something I’m currently interested in pursuing. Right now, I’m focusing on drawing on photoshop with my lo-tech wacom tablet.

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